Distribution Network Operators (DNOs and IDNOs)

 

What are DNOs?

Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) are licensed companies that own and operate the network of towers, transformers, cables and meters that carry electricity from the national transmission system and distribute it throughout Britain.

DNOs disperse electricity from the transmission grid for a large geographical area, whereas IDNOs disperse electricity from either DNOs or the transmission network to smaller local areas. Both DNOs and IDNOs are responsible for connection line faults and maintenance.

DNOs manage distribution networks from 240V to 400 kV through underground and overhead power lines, this covers commercial, industrial and residential properties. They’re also responsible for allocating Meter Point Registration Numbers (MPRNs), the unique identifiers for individual supply points that correspond to respective regions. Their systems connect directly to the central database of electricity supply points.

As DNOs and IDNOs are naturally monopolies, they must be regulated by Ofgem to protect consumers from overcharging. Ofgem also stipulates that DNOs must connect customers when requested, while IDNOs do not. Costs are based on connecting the customer to an electrical supply, reinforcing networks, and rebates to the previous connection operator. Both DNOs and IDNOs must charge the same prices for their services.

There are 14 licensed DNOs owned by six different groups that cover specific geographically defined regions of Britain. 

All DNO groups and their corresponding DNOs:

  1. 3. Scottish and Southern Energy
  2. 4. ScottishPower Energy Networks
  3. 5. UK Power Networks
  4. 6. Western Power Distribution

What are Independent Distribution Network Operators (IDNOs)?

Independent Distribution Network Operators are companies that develop, own, operate and maintain smaller, local electricity distribution systems within the DNO network.

IDNOs are connected to Distribution Network Operators (DNOs), either directly, or through other IDNOs. They carry power to homes and businesses around Britain. Unlike DNOs, they're not bound to any specific geographical region and can therefore offer their services to a wider range of customers.

All licensed IDNOs:

  • Eclipse Power Limited
  • Energy Assets Networks Limited
  • Energetics Electricity Limited
  • ESP Electricity Limited
  • Fulcrum Electricity Assets Limited
  • Harlaxton Energy Networks Limited
  • Independent Power Networks Limited
  • Leep Electricity Network Limited
  • Murphy Power Distribution Limited
  • The Electricity Network Company Limited
  • UK Power Distribution Limited
  • Utility Assets Limited
  • Vattenfall Network Limited

What is an Independent Connections Provider (ICP)?

An Independent Connections Provider (ICP) is an accredited company that carries out works on behalf of clients on the electricity network. These companies are owned by both DNOs and IDNOs.